This study describes an application of the life table method for examining the risk of death from exposure to low-level ionizing radiation. The method provides estimates of the expectation of premature death and the resultant life shortening. Applications to occupational exposure situations are used to demonstrate the technique. Doses ranging from 0.2 to 5.0 rem/yr and over age spans from 10 yr to working lifetimes are investigated. A technique for comparing radiation related mortality with nonradiation related risk of death from on-the job accidents is introduced. Results show that workers receiving whole body doses equal 5 rem/yr for sustained periods of time incur significant risk of premature death from radiation induced cancer. The risk is estimated, in some cases, to be as high as, or higher than, the average risk of accidental death in high risk industries, depending upon factors such as length of exposure, age at time of exposure, and the radiation risk model used.
(C)1981Health Physics Society